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Best electric breast pump 2023: Single, double and wearable electric models to buy

Our pick of the best electric pumps make it easy to express and support your baby’s feeding routine

Once your baby has arrived safely into the world, your everyday routine will revolve around naps, nappy changes and feeding. A special time, it can initially prove overwhelming, especially as you try to establish a routine in those first few days and weeks.

When it comes to feeding, for those mums who plan to breastfeed, an electric breast pump can help alleviate some stress by enabling you to express milk for your baby so that someone else can deliver a feed while you take a well-earned rest when you need it. The most modern and innovative new electric devices also allow you to pump with discretion and ease – whether you’re at home or out and about – and some even connect to digital apps so you can keep an eye on how much you’ve pumped and when. In short, they help to make the process much easier and less stressful.

With so many models available, however, it’s important to do your research and invest in the right breast pump for you and your baby. Below, our guide will take you through the key factors to consider when choosing the best breast pump for you, while our pick of the best models currently available will ensure you get your baby’s feeding journey off to the best start possible.

Best electric breast pump: At a glance

Best for discretion and convenienceElvie Pump (single) | £202Check price at John Lewis
Best-value double electric pumpLansinoh SmartPump 2.0 | £265Check price at Amazon
Best double pump for using on the goMedela Swing Maxi (2021) | £188Check price at Amazon

How to choose the best electric breast pump for you

Does breast pumping feel different to breastfeeding?

The sensation of a pump does feel different to a baby, but it shouldn’t cause any pain or discomfort. Most electric pumps mimic a baby’s natural feeding rhythm, and you can adjust the speed and suction based on your personal preference. It may take a few minutes to establish a good flow, so don’t feel frustrated if you manage to express only a small amount of milk at first.

How do I use an electric breast pump?

First, find a quiet spot where you’re unlikely to be undisturbed; as with breastfeeding, you’ll want to feel relaxed and at ease. Place the cone-shaped shield over your breast so it completely covers the nipple and areola, ensuring the pump’s bottle or hub is secure. You then switch the pump on to expression mode, which will stimulate the breast’s let-down reflex and start the milk flowing. Many of the latest electric models don’t feature any tubes, fitting neatly and easily beneath clothes – so once you’ve got into a good rhythm, you should be able to get up and on with your day.

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What’s the difference between an open and closed-system pump?

Breast pump manufacturers often use the terms “open” and “closed” systems. But what does this actually mean? Put simply, it refers to whether or not the pump includes a barrier between the breast pump and expressed milk, which is usually found between the tubing and the motor, or between the breast-shield connector and the tubing.

Closed-system pumps stop milk (or any other pollutants) from leaking into the pump’s mechanism using a physical barrier, and allow for effective cleaning. Open-system pumps don’t, so there’s the chance of contamination as a result of bacteria or mould over time.

Manufacturers of open-system pumps suggest the risk of your milk becoming contaminated is small; nevertheless, we’d advise against picking up a cheap second-hand such model from eBay or similar, plus you may want to be even more vigilant with sterilisation and cleaning. Some pump brands also refer to a closed system as “overflow protection”, but they mean the same thing.

How do I store the milk?

Once your milk has been decanted from the expresser into a bottles or bags, NHS guidelines suggest that you can keep it at room temperature for a maximum of six hours, or in the back of the fridge (not the door) for up to eight days at 4°C or lower. If you’re not confident that your fridge is cold enough, you should use it within three days.

Frozen breast milk can last up to six months, but needs to be defrosted properly – ideally, leave it in the fridge to defrost thoroughly, or run it under warm water if you’re in a rush. It should never be defrosted in the microwave, nor refrozen once thawed; in this case it must be used within 12 hours.

How do I clean my pump?

It’s recommended that you wash the suction cup and bottle between every use with soapy water, and sterilise your unit fully once a week. Make sure you check the manufacturer’s individual instructions, though, since some parts may need special care. You should also buy a bottle brush to help you clean in all the little crevices of the shields and valves.

How we test electric breast pumps

To deliver the most honest and accurate reviews, we test every product that we recommend. For this roundup, our reviewer – with a six-month-old baby, who she was breast and bottle feeding – tested each of the electric breast pumps for ease of assembling and use, comfort and hygiene levels. Some of the models, such as the Elvie, are designed to be used alongside an app or via an LED display, which have also been assessed for ease of use.

As well as taking note of the suction power of each electric pump, we also consider how convenient they are to use. Some models are designed to be used while sitting, for example, while others are more discreet so can be attached while you get on with your day. Finally, we include key specifications such as whether the model is a single or double pump, closed or open system, and its weight.

READ NEXT: The best sterilisers to buy

The best electric breast pumps you can buy in 2023

1. Elvie Pump: Best breast pump for discretion and convenience

Price when reviewed: £202 | Check price at John Lewis

Considered the crème de la crème of electric pumps, Elvie’s Silent Wearable Breast Pump is popular for good reason. While it can’t hold as much milk as some of the more traditional pumps on the market, it can be a real godsend if you need to go back to work or get out and about quite quickly after having a baby.

Its compact, closed-system design is free of dangling bottles and tubes. In addition, it operates silently, which means you can pop it under your top or dress, and no one will ever know that you’re secretly pumping. The hub of the pump needs charging around once a day (or after two to three pumping sessions), and the Elvie app displays how much battery is remaining.

We particularly like the alignment guides on the suction cup that help you find the right position on your breast, something that can prove tricky when using a wearable pump. It doesn’t come with any storage bags, since you pump straight into the included bottles that are both fridge- and freezer-safe. The brand also released a double-pump version of the Elvie that can help shorten pumping time and make expressing even more convenient.

Yes, it’s one of the most expensive models available, but for ease and convenience, you can’t get much better.

Key details – Type: Single and double electric pump with USB, closed system; Weight: 225g

2. Fraupow Wearable Breast Pump: Best-value wearable breast pump

Price when reviewed: £90 | Check price at John Lewis

If you’re looking for a discreet, wearable breast pump on a budget, then British breast pump brand Fraupow should be on your radar. The simple, lightweight, battery-powered design is discreet and portable, so you can get on with your daily chores and errands while expressing. It fits neatly inside your bra, allowing you to pump whenever you need to, and comes ready assembled so you can get going straight away.

It features an anti-backflow and overflow protected system, a milk collecting cup with a 180ml capacity, and an LED display that allows you to choose from nine intensity levels and two modes: suction and massage. Just set the timer for the amount of time you’d like to pump, and the automatic shut-off function will let you know when you’re done.

Quick to assemble and easy to clean, the Fraupow appears to give some of the most premium electric breast pumps a run for their money.

Key details – Type: Single electric pump with LED display and USB, anti-back flow and overflow protected system; Weight: 218g

Check price at John Lewis

3. Medela Swing Maxi (2021): Best double pump for using on the go

Price when reviewed: £188 | Check price at Amazon

As one of the most popular breastfeeding brands on the market, Medela’s Swing Maxi Double Electric Breast Pump is a keenly anticipated addition to its range. This new version is an update on the Swing Maxi Flex, offering a lighter, quieter and more discreet battery-powered design.

This reimagined version lasts for around six pumping sessions before you need to recharge the internal battery via the USB-C connection. It’s also considerably quieter than the Flex – it doesn’t exceed 45dB, even on the highest setting. Operating with a closed system, it prevents your breast milk from entering the tubing while also optimising suction levels.

Comfort is a big plus point here, too: the brand’s iconic oval-shaped PersonalFit Flex breast shields help you to find the most comfortable position while adapting to your own unique shape. The double-pump design is also clinically proven to produce 18% more milk in a 15-minute pumping session than a single pump. What’s more, some studies assert that double-pumping has a beneficial effect on the energy content of the expressed milk.

One of the downsides of the Swing Maxi is that it doesn’t come with a digital display, so you’ll have to record those details yourself. But if you’re okay with keeping things simple, you’re sure to be a fan of the four-button console, which is quick and easy to use.

Key details – Type: Double electric pump with USB charge, closed system; Weight: 325g

4. Lansinoh SmartPump 2.0: Best-value double electric pump

Price when reviewed: £265 | Check price at Amazon

If you want to express a greater volume of milk, a double electric breast pump is the most efficient option. Lansinoh’s latest model, the Smartpump 2.0, is its quietest pump to date, yet offers hospital-strength suction for quick and efficient expressing. It also has a hygienic closed system that helps prevent milk backing up in the tubing.

This pump is particularly good if you want to keep track of your pumping sessions, since its digital display connects to the Lansinoh Baby app via Bluetooth. This feature allows you to record the duration of each pumping session, helping you to compare daily averages and review your feeding routine over time.

Since it runs so quietly, you can use the Smartpump in bed at night without disturbing your baby or partner. Plus, the backlit LED display is easy to read and large buttons help you to effortlessly control the variable suction speed and pumping style.

The kit arrives with everything you need to get started, including comfort fit breast cushions, feeding bottles, bottle stands, one NaturalWave feeding bottle and teat and a breast milk cooler bag with ice pack.

Key details – Type: Double electric pump with Bluetooth display, closed system; Weight: 2.02kg

5. Elvie Stride: Best hospital-grade pump

Price when reviewed: £167 | Check price at Amazon

Elvie is without a doubt one of the best silent breast pumps on the market, and its latest release, the Stride, promises to offer hospital-grade pumping with the same discretion as the original. During testing, it lived up to that promise, offering -300mmHg of suction power (in contrast to the -270mmHg of the original). This means it isn’t as silent as the original, but if you want a stronger strength pump in a wearable device, this is it. It also has 10 stimulation and expression modes, which you can control and track using the Elvie app or the remote control.

It comes with two different-sized breast shields and easy-to-use cups that you can slip inside a nursing bra. The compact hub sits outside of the bra, but you can clip it onto your belt or trouser band if you don’t want to leave it dangling.

The downsides of this device are that it can be difficult to tell how much milk you’re expressing as a result of the cups’ design; but they do hold up to 5 oz/150 ml of capacity. In addition, the powerful suction can make the breasts quite sore. Overall, though, this is a thoughtfully designed breast pump, which will no doubt take the stress out of any busy, breastfeeding mum’s life.

Read our full Elvie Stride review here.

Key details – Type: Single or double electric pump with remote control and app, closed system; Weight: 544g

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